Debris on the Grill Relegates Gragson to 10th-Place Finish at Texas

Debris on the Grill Relegates Gragson to 10th-Place Finish at Texas Getty Images for NASCAR
After pitting for four fresh tires under caution late in in Friday night's PPG 400 at Texas Motor Speedway, Noah Gragson appeared to be in a strong position to contend for the win. Gragson restarted eighth, behind six trucks that didn't pit and another that took fuel only, when the field went back green with 13 laps remaining. Gragson quickly fell back to 10th on the restart and shortly after communicated to his crew chief Rudy Fugle that his engine was overheating. The Safelite Tundra came back down pit road under caution with six laps remaining to remove debris from the grill and would start NASCAR overtime from the 11th position. Gragson picked up one spot over the final two laps to register his fifth top-10 finish of the season.
 
Stage One Recap: 
  • Gragson posted the third fastest time in the final round of Friday afternoon's qualifying session. He moved into the runner-up position on lap one and then maneuvered around Stewart Friesen for the lead on lap two. The Safelite Tundra would remain out front until he was passed by teammate Todd Gilliland on lap 21.
  • The No. 18 Toyota was in the third position before hitting pit road under caution for four tires and fuel on lap 30. After restarting 15th with seven laps to go in the opening stage, Gragson finished the stage 12th. 
Stage Two Recap: 
  • Having pitted late in Stage 1 for four fresh tires, crew chief Rudy Fugle elected to pit for only fuel and a trackbar adjustment between stages. When Stage Two went green on lap 46, Gragson was scored in the eighth position.
  • Three laps later he had made his way back into the top five and remained there when a two-truck accident slowed the field for the fifth time on lap 74. Fugle summoned his young driver to pit road for fresh left-side tires and a full tank of fuel.
  • Gragson restarted from the sixth spot when the field went back green with one lap remaining in the stage and remained there when he got back to the stripe..
Final Stage Recap: 
  • Having pitted at the end of Stage Two, Fugle elected not to pit putting the Safelite Tundra in the second position for the start of the Final Stage.
  • Gragson had fallen back one spot when the seventh caution of the night occurred on lap 107. He brought his Toyota to the attention of his over-the-wall crew when pit road opened for fresh right-side tires, fuel and a trackbar adjustment.
  • The No. 18 team was scored in the fifth position when the field went back green on lap 113 and was scored in the sixth position before hitting pit road under caution on lap 151.
  • Gragson restarted eighth and appeared to be in a great position with the seven trucks in front of him being on old tires, but overheating issues would force him to pit road during the final caution and keep him from contending for the win. The NASCAR Next alum would end the race in the 10th position.

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